By Mason Uyeda, Senior Director, Industry Solutions and Technical Enablement, End-User Computing, VMware
One of the most exciting announcements (for me, as an End-User Computing advocate) at this VMworld has to be the EVO: RAIL hyper-converged infrastructure appliance and partner ecosystem. Why? Because I believe EVO: RAIL building blocks will emerge as key enablers on the journey to the software-defined data center (SDDC). In the SDDC, linear scale, maximum performance, and minimized increments of cost all mean that end-user-computing assets (virtual desktops, workspaces, user data, etc.) can be enabled, managed, instrumented, and migrated in such a way that end users get a great experience, at the lowest possible cost, with maximum uptime. With SDDC, IT adds an extraordinary amount of value to the enterprise both in the economics of virtualization across data center assets, and in the automated management that provides a framework for policy-based management of resources and services. The use cases for EVO: RAIL range from general-purpose applications, to remote or branch office deployments, to a virtual private cloud, to (of course) end-user computing with VMware Horizon with View and VMware Workspace.
What Was Announced?
EVO: RAIL is essentially the enabler of an ecosystem of hyper-converged appliances—the integration of network, compute, and storage with the virtualization platform and requisite management intelligence. The appliances are built on the trusted foundation of VMware vSphere, VMware vCenter Log Insight and VMware Virtual SAN. EVO: RAIL provides a single point of entry for SDDC lifecycle management.
There are two aspects to EVO: RAIL:
- The EVO: RAIL software bundle, which consists of the EVO: RAIL engine (that enables rapid deployment, management, and configuration), bundled with VMware vSphere, VMware Virtual SAN, and VMware vCenter Log Insight.
- The partner-created EVO: RAIL appliances that run on the EVO: RAIL software.
The EVO: RAIL software bundle is being made available to trusted partners who build, ship, and support the EVO: RAIL appliances. Version 1.0 of the EVO: RAIL software supports four EVO: RAIL appliances (four nodes per appliance) for a total of 16 ESXi hosts in the cluster. Each node has dual CPUs and 192GB of memory, and about 16TB of aggregated (via Virtual SAN) Flash and HDD. That environment will support up to about 1,000 virtual desktops (2 vCPUs, 2GB vMEM, 32GB vDisk linked clones) in a tidy package! The HTML5 interface means there is no need to worry about plug-ins. For hardware management and instrumentation, there are warning lights and fault notifications from the integration with vCenter Log Insight. I like that!
The Ecosystem of Horizon Appliances
As you may be aware, there are numerous partners such as Cisco, Pivot3, V3, Nutanix, RackTop and Inspur already building converged infrastructure appliances for Horizon with View PoC and production environments. Our customers love the easy and predictable scale-out model, with, of course, compelling economics. We have worked with all of these partners to test their appliances (through the Rapid Desktop Program) to receive VMware Ready certification. Our customers and partners know that when the VMware Ready mark is applied, they can trust that VMware stands behind the compatibility and test results.
Of course, we will also be working with the EVO: RAIL appliance partners to help them become VMware Ready certified as well. We can’t wait to get started!
Why Is EVO: RAIL Important?
As customers scale their Horizon deployments from hundreds of desktops to thousands, or tens of thousands, they want ease of scale with predictable outcomes. They want to know that the last desktop will perform as well as the first. They want to know that cost and performance will scale linearly, so there are no business or technical surprises. The business benefits of an EVO: RAIL-style deployment are numerous—ease of procurement, strong economics, fast deployment, simplified lifecycle management, and, of course, one point of support. The EVO: RAIL ecosystem of partners offers customers a broad choice of hardware options for their SDDC build-out.
For more information, visit the VMware EVO: RAIL web page.